The Federal Government aims to support over 40 million small businesses in Nigeria by establishing the Council for Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs). Tola Adekunle-Johnson, Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President for Job Creations and SMEs, announced this initiative in Abuja during the graduation of 5,300 SMBs from Google’s Hustle Academy.

FG Launches SME Council with N75m Google Grant

The graduation event showcased the program’s ongoing impact, having engaged more than 10,300 entrepreneurs since its inception in 2022, including 4,400 from Nigeria. The Hustle Academy, tailored to tackle unique challenges encountered by Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) in Africa, provides practical skills and resources to support the growth of these businesses.

Understanding SME Council

The SME Council, or Small and Medium Enterprises Council, is a governmental or organizational body established to address the needs, challenges, and development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

It typically focuses on formulating policies, providing support services, and implementing programs to foster the growth and sustainability of SMEs, which play a crucial role in economic development by generating employment and contributing to overall economic output. The specific objectives and functions of an SME Council may vary depending on the governing body or organization that establishes it.

The primary objectives of an SME Council typically include:

  • Policy Formulation: Developing and articulating policies that support the growth and development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • Program Implementation: Initiating and executing programs aimed at fostering the modernization and development of SME operations.
  • Support Services: Facilitating the provision of support services to accelerate the growth and sustainability of SMEs.
  • Addressing Challenges: Identifying and addressing the specific challenges faced by SMEs, such as access to funding, skills development, and regulatory issues.
  • Advocacy: Advocating for the interests of SMEs at local, regional, and national levels, ensuring their concerns are recognized and addressed.
  • Networking and Collaboration: Facilitating collaboration and networking opportunities among SMEs, government agencies, and other stakeholders to create a supportive ecosystem.
  • Promoting Innovation: Encouraging and supporting innovative practices within the SME sector to enhance competitiveness and resilience.
  • Access to Funding: Promoting initiatives that provide SMEs with improved access to funding, including grants, loans, and equity financing.
  • Capacity Building: Supporting programs that enhance the skills and capabilities of SME owners and their workforce.
  • Data Collection and Analysis: Gathering and analyzing data related to the SME sector to inform evidence-based policymaking and program development.
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SME Council Imperative for Economic Growth

Adekunle-Johnson underscores the necessity of the SME Council, citing the substantial contributions of small businesses to the Nigerian economy. He stresses the imperative for significant support to ensure the thriving of SMEs, particularly in the current economic landscape.

In expressing gratitude for Google’s initiatives, the SSA on Job Creation and SMEs assures that the Federal Government is committed to supporting the technology firm’s endeavors.

Charles Odii, the Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), reinforces the crucial role of SMEs, highlighting them as the lifeblood of any economy. Odii emphasizes the collaborative need for robust support systems to fortify and sustain the vital SME sector.

Significance of Small Businesses in Nigeria’s Economy

Charles Odii, the Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), highlighted the substantial impact of small businesses on the nation’s economy. Contrary to the common perception of major corporations like MTN and Google dominating the business landscape, Odii revealed that they constitute only four percent of the businesses in the country.

The remaining 96 percent comprises small businesses, which play a significant role. Odii emphasized that small businesses, particularly those led by women aged 20 to 60, contribute significantly to job creation, accounting for 80 percent of employment opportunities in the economy.

Recognizing the pivotal role of these businesses, he stressed the importance of robust support systems. He disclosed that SMEDAN, in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President, National Information Technology Development Association (NITDA), and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), has been actively providing substantial support to bolster the growth and sustainability of small businesses.

Google’s Hustle Academy Graduates Nationwide

Olumide Balogun, the Country Director for Google West Africa, shared that the graduates from the Hustle Academy were selected from all six geo-political zones of Nigeria. This nationwide representation underscores the program’s commitment to reaching and empowering entrepreneurs from diverse regions, fostering a broad impact on small business development across the country.

“The passion and resilience shown by these SMBs are truly inspiring. The Hustle Academy is a testament to what focused training and resources can achieve. We are not just celebrating their graduation today; we are recognizing their potential to reshape and invigorate the Nigerian business landscape,” he stated.

Balogun mentioned that among the 10,000 SMEs, approximately 4,400 were based in Nigeria. He emphasized that small businesses are vital to any economy, highlighting challenges such as inflation, forex instability, cost of living, and insecurity, which have exacerbated issues for small businesses in the country.

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Google’s Commitment to Empowering African SMEs

Balogun, referencing data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), highlighted the existence of several million SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) facing a significant $400 billion funding gap. He stressed the crucial need for small businesses in Africa to acquire essential skills to enhance funding accessibility, stating that Google is prepared to provide the necessary tech skills to support their growth.

Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Google’s Head of Brand and Reputation, explained the meticulous selection process for the N75 million grant. Out of 100,000 SMEs, 15 were chosen from the Hustle Academy.

This selection was narrowed down to 30 and further to the top 15 performers in the academy. Aderemi-Makinde emphasized that Google’s ultimate goal is to see these businesses not only survive but thrive, contributing to the overall growth and prosperity of Nigeria.

FAQs

What is Google Offer for Small Business in Nigeria?

The company announced an N75 million equity-free fund specifically allocated to Nigerian Small and Medium-sized Businesses. This fund aims to provide N5 million each to 15 Nigerian small business owners. In their statement, the company emphasized that small businesses constitute the backbone of the country’s economy but often face challenges in securing funding.

How Can the Government Facilitate the Support of SMEs in Nigeria?

This suggests that SMEs have the opportunity to access funding through government-established schemes and programs. These initiatives are fundamentally designed to promote and support the growth of small businesses, offering various forms of assistance such as soft loans, grants, and equity financing.

Which Government Agency Helps the Small Entrepreneur?

The mandate of SMEDAN includes initiating and formulating policy ideas to foster the growth and development of small and medium enterprises. Additionally, the organization is tasked with promoting and facilitating development programs, instruments, and support services aimed at accelerating the modernization and development of MSME (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises) operations.

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Does SME Pay Tax in Nigeria?

While some SMEs fulfill their tax obligations to local, state, and federal government agencies, a significant number evade paying structured taxes like corporate and personal taxes. This is not due to a lack of obligations; in fact, many SMEs are required to pay various taxes, including income tax, employment tax, sales tax, and self-employment tax.

What is the Difference Between SMEDAN and CAC?

CAC registration is applicable to all businesses and associations, whereas SMEDAN registration specifically caters to small and medium businesses, including “small one-man businesses” like yours. The primary benefit of registering with SMEDAN is that it facilitates access to government loans or funds and loans from microfinance banks. Beyond this, there are no additional obligations or purposes associated with SMEDAN registration.

What are the Potential Sources of Funding for MSMEs and SMEs in Nigeria?

Some of the financial institutions involved encompass the CBN, commercial banks, microfinance banks, and international development agencies such as the African Development Bank. This paper specifically concentrates on financing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, exploring the diverse financing options accessible to these enterprises.

Which Company Pays the Highest Taxes in Nigeria?

An analysis of company results indicates that Dangote Cement, followed by MTN Nigeria Plc, is the leading contributor to tax payments in the country. Additionally, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) emerges as the top entity in the banking sector in terms of tax expenses during the specified period.

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